There are many budget travel locations in Botswana that won't be as pricey as the visitor hotspots of Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, but finding the right mode of transport to get off the beaten track won't be cheap.
Road travel in Botswana often involves driving long distances in sparsely populated, harsh environments. Many of Botswana's best game parks are found deep in the wild, away from roads. Careful planning is required before hiring a vehicle and setting off, and this is the reason many travelers choose to fly.
Flying isn't cheap but is the most reliable way to get around the country. Airport runways serviced by frequent flights are sometimes the only way in and out of the bush, but if you don't like small planes and bumpy runways, you might not enjoy the rough flight.
Planes and pilots are exceptional in Botswana, with many pilots coming from Europe to chase the dream in Africa, and all are very capable of flying in tough conditions.
If you hire a car to drive around Botswana, you'll need to hire a reliable vehicle, which might prove difficult. The roads in Botswana, by African standards, are quite good compared to neighboring countries.
However, driving outside of urban areas in Botswana can be hazardous due to poor road conditions, inadequate lighting at night, and generally poor local driving practices.
Wild animals and livestock often stray onto roads and always have right of way. The Botswanans take injuries or deaths of their cattle by motorists very seriously.
Highway travel can often be very slow due to the high number of cattle on the roads, so take your time. Hitting a cow at speed will not only upset the locals but leave you with injuries and a damaged vehicle. Stay alert while driving the open roads, and take reasonable breaks to avoid tiredness.
When traveling to remote desert areas, always seek out reputable guides and a 4WD vehicle that is well equipped with emergency provisions.
Botswana is where you will find some of Africa's best arid regions, the famous Kalahari Desert and Makadikadi Salt Pans. If you plan to drive into these areas, be prepared for the worst-case scenario: a break-down in the middle of nowhere. While people might not be around, wild animals are – usually hiding in the darkness.
Safety and security in Botswana make this one of the best African countries to travel around. With a bit of careful planning and low expectations on arrival times, embrace the slow pace of your journey.
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